« IndietroContinua »
Limits and classifications of the arts in later philosophy.
the audible by means of the visible. Desirous of preserv-
method, Solger placed poetry, the universal art, side by side with art strictly so called, which is either symbolical (Sculpture) or allegorical (painting), and, in either case, is a union of concepts and bodies: if you take corporality without concept, you have architecture ; if concept without matter, music." Hegel makes poetry the bond of union between the two extremes of figurative art and of music.” We have already seen how Schopenhauer destroyed the accepted limitations of art and built them up again, following the order of the ideas which they represent.” Herbart clung to Lessing's two groups, simultaneous arts and successive arts, and defined the former as “permitting themselves to be inspected from every side,” the latter as “rejecting complete investigation and remaining in semi-darkness " : in the first group he placed architecture, plastic, church music and classical poetry; in the second ornamental gardening, painting, secular music and romantic poetry.” Herbart was implacable against those who look in one art for the perfections of another; who “ look on music as a sort of painting, painting as poetry, poetry as an elevated plastic and plastic as a species of aesthetic philosophy,” “while admitting that a concrete work of art, such as a picture, may contain elements of the picturesque, the poetic and other kinds, held together by the skill of the artist." Weisse divided the arts into three triads, intended to recall the nine Muses.” Zeising invented a cross-division into figurative arts (architecture, Sculpture, painting), musical arts (instrumental music, song, poetry), and arts of mimicry (dance, musical mimicry, representative art), and into macrocosmic arts (architecture, instrumental music, dance), microcosmic arts (sculpture, song, musical mimicry) and historical arts (painting, poetry and rethe three forms of imagination (figurative, sensuous and poetic), into objective arts (architecture, plastic and painting), a subjective art (music) and an objective-subjective art" (poetry). Gerber proposed to recognize a special “art of language " (Sprachkunst), distinguishable alike from prose and poetry and consisting in the expression of simple movements of the soul. Such an art would correspond with plastic in the following scheme: arts of the eye—(a) architecture, (b) plastic, (c) painting ; arts of the ear—(a) prose, (b) the art of language, (c) poetry.” The two most recent systems of classification are furnished by Schasler and Hartmann, who have also submitted the schemes of their predecessors to searching criticism. Schasler * arranges the arts in two groups, adopting the criterion of simultaneity and succession : the arts of simultaneity are architecture, plastic and painting ; of succession, music, mimicry and poetry. He says that by following the series in the order indicated, it will be seen that simultaneity, originally predominant, yields place to succession, which predominates in the second group and subordinates without wholly displacing the other. Parallel with this, another division is evolved, deduced from the relation between the ideal and material elements in each separate art, between movement and repose ; which begins with architecture “materially the heaviest, spiritually the lightest of all the arts,” and ends with poetry, in which the opposite relation is observed. Curious analogies are established by this method between the first and second group of arts: between architecture and music; between plastic and mimicry: between painting in its three forms of landScape, genre and historical, and poetry in its three forms of lyric (declamatory), epic (rhapsodic) and drama (representative). Hartmann” divides the arts into arts of perception and arts of imagination : the former tripartite
presentative art).” Vischer classified them according to
* Schriften 2. prakt. Phil. in Werke, viii. p. 2.
* Asth. §§ 404, 535, 537, 838, etc.
into spatial or visual (plastic and painting), temporal or auditory (instrumental music, linguistic mimicry, expressive song) and temporal-spatial or mimic (pantomime, mimic dances, art of the actor, art of the opera-singer); the second contains but one single species, which is poetry. Architecture, decoration, gardening, cosmetic and prosewriting are excluded from this system of classification and lumped together as non-free arts. Parallel with this search for a classification of the arts, the same philosophers were led into the quest of the supreme art. Some favoured poetry, others music or sculpture ; others again claimed the supremacy for combined arts, especially for Opera, according to the theory of it already advanced in the eighteenth century | and maintained and developed in our day by Richard Wagner.” One of the latest philosophers to raise the question “whether single arts, or arts in combination, had the greater value,” concluded that single arts as such possess their own perfection, yet the perfection of united arts is still greater, notwithstanding the compromises and mutual concessions enforced upon them by their union ; that single arts, from another point of view, have the greater value; and lastly, that both single and combined arts are necessary to the realisation of the concept of art.” The capriciousness, emptiness and childishness of such problems and their solutions must have excited feelings of impatience and disgust, but we rarely find a doubt thrown on their validity. One such dissentient is Lotze when he writes: “It is difficult to see the use of such attempts. Knowledge of the nature and laws of individual arts is but little increased by indication of the systematic place allotted to each.” He further observed that in real life the arts are variously conjoined, forming themselves into no systematic series, while in the world of thought an immense variety of orders can be created ; he therefore selected one of these possible orders, not because it was the sole legitimate one, but because it was convenient (bequem). His series begins with music, “the art of free beauty, determined only by the laws of its matter, not by conditions imposed by a given task of purpose or of imitation "; followed by architecture, “which no longer plays freely with forms, but subjects them to the service of an end "; and then by sculpture, painting and poetry, excluding minor arts which cannot be co-ordinated with the others, since they are incapable of expressing with any approach to completeness the totality of the spiritual life." A recent French critic, Basch, opens his treatise with the following excellent remarks: “Is it necessary to show there is no such thing as an absolute art, differentiating itself later by means of one knows not what immanent laws 2 What exists is the particular forms of art, or rather artists who have striven to translate, as best they can, according to the material means at their command, the song of the ideal in their souls.” But later on he thinks it possible to effect a division of the arts by starting “from the artist, instead of the art in itself,” by proceeding “according to the three great types of fancy, visual, motor and auditory"; and as for the debated point of the supreme art, he thinks it must be settled in favour of music.” Schasler is not altogether wrong in his spirited counterattack on Lotze's criticism ; he protests against the principle of indifference and convenience, and remarks that “the classification of the arts must be regarded as the real touchstone, the real differential test of the scientific value of an aesthetic system ; for on this point all theoretical questions are concentrated and crowd together to find a concrete solution.” “ The principle of convenience may be excellent as applied to the approximative grouping of botanical or zoological classifications, but it has no place in philosophy; and as Lotze, in common with Schasler and other aestheticians, conformed * Lotze, Geschichte d. Asth. pp. 458-460 ; cf. p. 445.
* E.g. by Sulzer, Allg. Theorie, on word Oper.
* Rich. Wagner, Oper und Drama, 1851.
* Gustav Engel, Asth. der Tonkunst, 1884, abstracted in Hartmann, Dische. Asth. s. Kant, pp. 579-58o.